Scott Brown and Fraser Forster delight Celtic's Neil Lennon

Celtic skipper Scott Brown
Brown scored with a fine curling shot with his left foot

Skipper Scott Brown's performance for Celtic at St Mirren was described as "brilliant" by manager Neil Lennon.

James Forrest had given Celtic the lead against an impressive Saints team in Paisley then Brown curled in an 88th-minute shot to make the points safe.

Lennon told BBC Scotland: "I thought Brown had a brilliant game for us. He really relishes these kind of games.

"Before the game I said 'you owe us a goal and a big performance' and I got both. It was a wonderful goal."

And Lennon added: "He gets a bit of criticism here and there but you could see today the qualities that he brings to the team - leadership, drive. He read the game brilliantly, right in the thick of it all.

"To cap off the performance with a goal like that, I'm delighted for him."

St Mirren could not force a way past the outstanding Celtic keeper Fraser Forster and the match remained goalless until Brown set up Forrest to drive home in the 71st minute.

"It's the toughest one on this run we've been on," said Lennon of the challenge posed by the Buddies in Celtic's impressive run of form.

"St Mirren played well, the conditions didn't help but we stuck at it. We needed Fraser to make some good saves and we scored two goals of real quality.

"I'm delighted with the win, the performance and the character that the team showed today.

"I didn't think we were great in the final third in the first half.

Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster
Celtic will try to make Forster's loan deal permanent

"I thought the two subs [Kris Commons and Anthony Stokes in 58 minutes] gave us that extra impetus, particularly Kris, and I thought Hooper was outstanding from start to finish."

Lennon reiterated his desire to keep Forster at the club when his loan spell from Newcastle runs out.

Forster made great saves from Marc McAusland, Dougie Imrie and Paul McGowan as he denied St Mirren a goal.

Lennon told BBC Scotland: "All the great teams over the years, the [Peter] Schmeichels, if you look at Joe Hart at City, even Allan McGregor at Rangers, when you've got your back to the wall, you need your goalkeeper to be big and Fraser certainly was today.

"We've spoken to Fraser and Peter [Lawwell, Celtic's chief executive] will be contacting his representatives and we'll try to get a deal done.

"I think the player wants to stay. It's just a question of getting the negotiations right for both parties.

"He is enjoying it here. He has made a name for himself here, he has improved a lot and we really like what we've got.

"He's got great presence in the goal and he is starting to mature even more now."

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